The City of Hobart’s current integrated approach of mechanical thinning and periodic burning has made significant headway in the ecological restoration of the grassy woodlands on the Queens Domain.
The City’s Fire and Biodiversity Team and Bushcare volunteer crews have been working hard to keep sheoak numbers in check.
By freeing up space around the white gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) and blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) saplings surviving among the sheoaks, these young trees will have enough space, light and nutrient to put on growth and become resilient canopy trees.
It takes approximately 100 years for a tree to begin forming hollows, so these saplings will one day create critical habitat for swift parrots, pardalotes, masked owls and other hollow-nesting species.
Where sheoaks have been removed, the lowland grasslands have been quick to return. According to Professor Kirkpatrick from the University of Tasmania, “the wallabies and pademelons now on the Domain are also doing their bit, while the bandicoots create regeneration niches”.
A walk along the Joggers Loop today will take you past elbow-high speargrasses where thick sheoak once stood. The grasslands’ purple and yellow wildflower palette is gradually coming back – Dianella lilies and delicate button flowers dot the grassy understorey.
Grasslands have evolved alongside people with complex management regimes, and caring for them in the face of a changing climate will be no easy task. The City of Hobart’s longest-running ecological restoration project is far from over.